Michael Phelps has seen the highest of highs in his swimming career with 22 Olympic medals, becoming the most decorated Olympian in history. But he has also seen several lows, with his arrest in 2014 for driving under the influence of alcohol which resulted in him being suspended from all competitions for six months, including the 2015 World Aquatics Championships in August.
But now the record breaker is back for another shot, his last, to further his Olympic glory. And he is pulling all stops to make sure his final shot counts.
Now 30 years of age, Phelps had announced in 2014 that he would hang up his trunks after snagging two dozen Olympic medals, including a record-breaking 18 golds.He told reporters he was coming back for one last shot at Olympic glory, in part because of disappointment that he had not worked hard enough before the London Games.
"It was really hard to keep me in the pool and to keep me motivated going into 2012," said Phelps, adding he was looking forward to have his yet-to-be-born son there to see his last race at the August Games. "This is my last chance to do it."
But he has also added that his second retirement from competition to be final, and he wants to make sure that his last shot at furthering his Olympic glory counts.
"When I say this is my last one, this is my last one," said Phelps, who lives in Baltimore. "If I go to Rio and don't final, I'm probably going to be a little pissed, but that's what I had. I think I'll be able to accept it."
Phelps is committed to a rigorous training programme that nowadays is balanced by strict attention to diet and recovery techniques aimed at keeping his 30-year-old body in tune.
This intense regimen is captured in a new commercial for sportswear maker Under Armour, and it makes for a wonderful watch. A heavily-bearded, determined-looking Phelps is seen doing intense physically-challenging exercise, swimming with resistance, lifting weights, piling on the carbs, taking ice baths, undergoing a scary-looking "cupping therapy," and even having trouble sleeping.
"It's what you do in the dark that puts you in the light," says the commercial at the end.
Phelps was back in his hometown of Baltimore on Tuesday morning to promote the brand. "Throughout my whole career, I literally went from one meet to another, from one event to the next, one medal to the next, one record to the next record. A lot of it was a blur. We were always looking for the next thing," Phelps said.
"I'm just living a sort of freer, happier life now," he added.
Phelps himself got emotional when he saw the video, a mark of just how much this means to him .
— Under Armour (@UnderArmour) March 7, 2016
Watch the Under Armour video here
With inputs from agencies
First Published On : Mar 10, 2016 17:42 IST